“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Keyser in Mineral County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Regaining the Initiative

Regaining the Initiative Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), July 12, 2020
1. Regaining the Initiative Marker
The Rhineland Campaign, January 1945
If I were asked what campaign in the war brought me the greatest professional pride, I would point unhesitatingly to this one.
General Omar Bradley, Commander, 12th Army Group
The 78th Division stay resilient during the Battle of the Bulge, holding strong as the northern shoulder of the German salient. During January 1945, the Allied stopped the German offensive, and drove them back behind the "Siegfried Line." Once again, the Allies began thinking of taking the offensive into the German heartland — it was time to pursue the Rhineland Campaign with its main target, controlling the Schwammanauel Dam.

The first obstacle in regaining the initiative was to finish taking Kesternich — still key terrain to US objectives. This area was filled with German infantry and anti-tank bunkers, and the German had had an extra month to mine and bobby-trap the town. This time, the town had to be taken house-by house, floor-by-floor, and even room-by-room. There was a large snowfall the day the orders were given,
Ed Kelley Memorial Plaza image. Click for full size.
July 12, 2020
2. Ed Kelley Memorial Plaza
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January 38th. The offensive was to resume on the 30th with the 310th and 311th on the attack, the 309th in the reserve. As the attack began, the 310th got an unintentional lucky break as they moved on the town next to Kesternich. Usually, the US used a 30-minute artillery preparation before an infantry assault. That day, Division Commander General Parker, cut the ammunition supply to build a reserve for the coming offensive, leaving only enough for a 5-minute prep fire. The Germans remained hunkered down in their pillboxes waiting for the remaining fire, and before they knew it, men of the 310th surrounded them.

The 311th Regiment, SSG Kelley's unit was not so fortunate in Kesternich. An order from the Fuhrer propelled the legend of this town that had already become synonymous with death:

"Hold Kesternich at all costs."
Adolph Hitler

Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1945.
Location. 39° 26.383′ N, 78° 58.615′ W. Marker is in Keyser, West Virginia, in Mineral County. Marker is on West Piedmont Street (West Virginia Route 46) just west of North Davis Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 32 N Davis St, Keyser WV 26726, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Battle of the Bulge (here, next to this marker);
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The First Battle of Kesternich (here, next to this marker); Jonah Edward Kelley (here, next to this marker); Key Terrain (here, next to this marker); The Medal of Honor (here, next to this marker); D-Day (here, next to this marker); The Battle for Kesternich (here, next to this marker); World War II (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Keyser.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 55 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 14, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2. submitted on July 14, 2020.

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Mar. 23, 2023